Cayman Airways gets new boarding ramps

Cayman Airways gets new boarding ramps

Cayman Airways has purchased six new boarding ramps for its planes. 

Four of the boarding ramps are at Owen Roberts International Airport on Grand Cayman. Three are for the jets and one for the Saab or Embraer aircraft that service the Sister Islands. The other two ramps, one for jets and one for the smaller planes, are at Charles Kirkconnell International Airport on Cayman Brac. 

The national airline’s president and CEO Fabian Whorms said the ramps, which provide an inclined walkway to board or deplane, will increase safety and comfort for passengers, especially those with limited mobility or who need wheelchair assistance. 

“We know how much it means for individuals to be able to walk on and off a plane on their own and for families to easily board together,” he said. “Previously, wheelchair passengers had to be physically carried up or down the stairs by several support staff, but now they can board in a much more efficient, safe and dignified manner with their wheelchairs being wheeled right onto the plane.” 

Although the ramps are not covered, they have anti-skid surfaces so they can be used in the rain. 

Cayman Airways Marketing and Public Relations Manager Olivia Scott Ramirez said each of the jet ramps cost approximately US$50,000 and each of the Saab/Embraer ramps cost US$30,000, bringing the total investment to about US$260,000. “With the savings obtained by eliminating wheelchair carry-ons and improved efficiencies, CAL anticipates an 18-month repayment period for the entire ramp package,” Ms. Scott Ramirez said. 

Since the purchase of the ramps was a Cayman Airways investment, she said, the ramps will primarily be for use by Cayman Airways. 

“CAL would look to provide ramps to the [other] carriers that we handle as our own operational needs allow,” she said. Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism Moses Kirkconnell welcomed the additional equipment. 

“The ramps offers a safer, more convenient boarding alternative for seniors and young children and eliminates the need on arrival for passengers to lift their carry-on bags down a flight of stairs,” he said. 

He also noted that the islands’ dive operators “have long been praised for their professionalism and experience in providing dive activities for disabled divers,” and the addition of the new boarding ramps “will make it easier for these individuals to enjoy a more comfortable disembarkation experience when visiting to take advantage of the many benefits that diving provides.” Longtime Caymanian businessman Parker Tibbetts, who now uses a wheelchair, said he was delighted to see the new boarding ramps. 

“The boarding or deplaning process using traditional stairs can be a very distressing time for those who have historically had to be carried on or off an aircraft,” said Mr. Tibbetts, who is the patron of the new draft Cayman Islands Disability Policy.  

“After my own inspection and use of the ramps, I am pleased that they will be a great improvement to the existing experience and believe that their use will provide much faster and safer boarding and deplaning for everyone,” he added. 

Passengers disembark from a Cayman Airways jet using one of the four new ramps that airline officials say will allow for safer and more comfortable boarding and deplaning.

Passengers disembark from a Cayman Airways jet using one of the four new ramps that airline officials say will allow for safer and more comfortable boarding and deplaning.

The new Cayman Airways boarding ramps for the Saab and Embraer aircraft that serve the Sister Islands.

The new Cayman Airways boarding ramps for the Saab and Embraer aircraft that serve the Sister Islands.
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  1. Nice improvement,this is good news, because I always worried about persons walking down the stairs from the plane with bags in each hand. Support your airlines.

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  2. Guess that finally closes the Jet Bridges argument?

    I just hope CAL have some arrangement in place to generate extra revenue by renting out spare capacity on these to other airlines.

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  3. While it’s nice to see the ramps, I still have to ask how hard hard would it have been to put awnings on them to protect people from the rain..It would made a tremendous difference and probably only for a few dollars more. Why cut that corner..?

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  4. I was very pleasantly surprised to find the new boarding ramp when I de-planed last week.

    They really are a great improvement. Well done Cayman Airways.

    But why just for Cayman Airways? They should have been bought by the airport for use by every airline that arrives here.

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  5. Back in April 2015, I remember mentioning something about ramps in the Compass Online Poll for the Jetway discussion:

    http://compasscayman.com/caycompass/2015/04/02/Online-poll-Opinions-split-on-airport-Jetways/

    All I have to say is this is great news, because now it’ll be easier for people to ingress and degress from the plane, especially for the elderly and the disabled.

    I highly recommend that they get more of these, maybe upgrade them later with a cover would be nice as well!

    For now, at least this is an excellent start.

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  6. The does seem strange Norman, but not totally outside of the xenophobic character of plenty of people in the Caymanian community including those in high places. The justification was probably something like most Caymanians fly Cayman Airways the rest of the driftwood that fly foreign airlines can walk down the stairs.

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  7. I was recently in Canada on business and they had one of these ramps at a regional airport. I was impressed with their comfort and the fact that they were easily wheelchair accessible, as well as being able to roll carry-on luggage. I think this is a reasonable compromise for the time being.

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  8. This is great outside of the box thinking by Cayman Airways and Moses Kirkconnell. Saved the island a lot of money by using these over jetways, while accomplishing the main goal of catering to handicap persons. Sure, they do not protect you from rain, but come on, it is an island, how spoiled can you get. I am confident the other airlines will all follow suit with these ramps. Congratulations PPM, job well done.

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